Monday, July 8, 2013

Kombucha Love.

I remember in the mid nighties my mother and grandmother got into this new fad that was going to help them loose weight. It involved fermenting tea with the aid of a giant mushroom in a big porcelain pot. Needless to say, the fad didn't last long. Not many fads did in the nineties.

Kombucha is making a big pro-biotic comeback, in the same way that other nineties fads, like floral prints, ripped jeans, facial hair for the boys and porkpie hats, have.

My family members called this tea "mushroom tea" which doesn't have the nicest ring to it. Kombucha is apparently based on a Russian word and the tea is quite popular over there. I haven't been to Russia personally, so I can't really tell you too much about that. I have read that a previous Russian head honcho put in a lot of time and money to try and discover a magical elixir that would give him more energy and stamina and make him super healthy. He decided kombucha was the way of the future.

Long story short, no one really knows about this tea, the origins or what really is in it. But like everything in this world, no one will do the research into finding these things out unless there is a tonne of money to be made. I sincerely doubt that any scientist will put down his or her pay check to find these things out. What I can tell you is that like any other fermented product (other than alcohol), it is full of probiotics, makes my tummy feel good and tastes great.

Plus, it's tea. Obviously it's rad.

Time: One week to 30 days.
Makes: 1 litre or so.


  • First of all you need what is known as a SCOBY. That stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. I bought mine from eBay. If you have a friend that  brews kombucha, you can get one from them. This is your mushroom starter.
  • You also need about half a cup of the tea that the starter SCOBY came from.
  • About two black tea bags. I have also used green and that worked a treat.
  • Half a cup of sugar. I am a bit anti-white sugar. It's just ingrained in me not to use it. I have used coconut sugar and raw sugar for this recipe and have been quite successful. Everything I have read says that white sugar is the way to go. I use about half a cup of sugar per litre of tea. White sugar is sometimes filtered with animal bones. 
  • One litre (4 cups) boiling water. 
  • One big glass jar that holds at least a litre and a half of fluid. 


Boil the water and add the teabags and the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. The whole idea is that the SCOBY will eat the sugar and ferment the tea.

Allow this tea mix to cool completely.

Add the mix to the glass jar along with the SCOBY and starter culture. Leave in a cupboard covered with a clean cloth for about a week. After a week, you will see a baby SCOBY has grown on the top of the tea. You can give this one to a friend or use it to make more mixes. 

You can bottle the brew after a week when it will be quite sweet and still have some sugar in it. Alternatively, you can wait up to a month when it will be more vinegary.

When bottling, you can add fruits, ginger or a herbal/ fruit tea to the mix. Place the bottles in the cupboard again for a week for a second fermentation. This part will make it a little bubbly. 

In the photo above, I have used green tea as the base, and added pomegranate tea on the top. It's delicious.

This is my lunch today. I'm getting ready for night shift and have cleaned the house and made a french onion-style cashew dip. French onion dip was my favourite as a kid. I love the way flavours and smells can bring back such vivid memories. This one is very similar to this dill dressing, but with truffle oil, half an onion and a clove of garlic instead of dill.  x   


  1. howdy sally, thanks again for the hasbeen since the mid-90s that i last played around with this funky fungi...i have been testing my teas in the kombucha brews, with the green organic and the black whole leaf chai great thus far...maybe on to earl grey next...i will have to get you some samples for an official kitten kind review..cheers, stu- the tea catcher

    1. I've been meaning to buy more tea from you. The ones you gave me for my birthday were so delicious. I'm glad you're having fun with the SCOBY- Chai sounds amazing and I'm always a fan of Earl Grey. Email me deets of The Tea Catcher at ofthekittenkind(at) and maybe some photos and I'll pop it on here.
      Hope you're having a great night! :)

    2. Also, I've added you to my blog roll :)

  2. We used to brew kombucha in the 80s and 90s. We were given a "culture" by a friend and once you have one you can breed your own and pass them on to other friends.

  3. Lovely blog Sally, and some great images too. I'm a total tea tragic and have been interested in kombucha, but have yet to actually do anything about it!